Pavey Ark explore life’s complexities in debut LP
Formed in 2016, Pavey Ark are a fast-rising alternative folk band from Hull, fronted by Neil Thomas. Earlier this month, the band released their debut album Close Your Eyes and Think of Nothing. The phrase was taken from ‘Private Hell’ by The Jam, both for its blissful ignorance and the complexities that come with actually trying to attempt it. And this is wonderfully emblemetic of the album itself, which revels in the complexities just as much it does the bissful moments.
What is the abum about?
Pavey Ark’s debut album intertwines reflections on internal and external life, with Thomas musing on topics including first-time fatherhood, dreams of escaping the rat race, the push and pull of relationships past and present, all while conveying a sense of tentative hope for the future. These thoughts and journeys are orchestrated beautifully with an equally wistful yet deep soundscape, beaming with moving guitar riffs and beautiful strings that tickle the heart strings like a satisfying ending to a rom-com.
Close Your Eyes and Think of Nothing – the highlights
‘Wallflowers’ opens the album with its apt exploration of a new mindset at the start of a new relationship. Then ‘Cuckoo’ follows with its euphoria of meeting a soulmate-like figure who you can communicate with on a deeper level. Upon the first listen, I was immediately taken to a road trip scenario, drifting along a scenic lanscape filled with hope and bliss. Much like the lyrics, the moving strings and melodic vocal harmonies are able to tap into the deeper layers and reveal the wonderfully vulnerable, complicated and utterly dreamy with ease. This is heard again in the love song ‘Hidden Hills’, a celebration of the magic of meeting the person you love. Here, the guitar riffs are more prominent in their joy.
In a time where we really want to escape and be oblivious to the real world, title track ‘Close Your Eyes and Think of Nothing’ delights the listener with its attempts at blissful ignorance after a breakup. Another call for escape is heard towards the end of the album in ‘Breaking Out’, a scaled down, fuzzy and melodic track that grips you from the first chorus. Then, the tone complete changes again in subsequent, sweet as candy track ‘Jenny Let Go’.
This album insightfully reveals and explores the complexities that underpin human life, and it digs deep into all of the emotions that surround them. This is emphasised by a soundscape that is as inspiring as it is captivating. Really, the delicate combination of guitars, strings and brass is absolutely delightful.
Yet, the album also celebrates all of these complexities for their neccesity, as well as the opportunities they offer. In the end, the ability to feel and experience these things is what makes us human. So, as Close Your Eyes and Think of Nothing teaches us, we have to make the most of these little revelations, as complicated and candid as they are, and drift on. For that, my friend, is when life really develops meaning.
The band have already played at several major UK festivals including Glastonbury, Cornbury and Bearded Theory. They have also supported acts such as Badly Drawn Boy, Steve Mason and Rozi Plain. Yet, this is just the beginning for Pavey Ark. With their stunning debut album now roaming free, I hope Pavey Ark will reach new heights and loved by many more fans across the UK. They have already found a new fan in me!
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